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Dis Aquat Organ. 2015 Feb 10;113(1):1-8. doi: 10.3354/dao02822.

Differential efficiency among DNA extraction methods influences detection of the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

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Department of Biology, James Madison University, 951 Carrier Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA.


Chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), is responsible for massive declines and extinctions of amphibians worldwide. The most common method for detecting Bd is quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). qPCR is a highly sensitive detection technique, but its ability to determine the presence and accurately quantify the amount of Bd is also contingent on the efficiency of the DNA extraction method used prior to PCR. Using qPCR, we compared the extraction efficiency of 3 different extraction methods commonly used for Bd detection across a range of zoospore quantities: PrepMan Ultra Reagent, Qiagen DNeasy Blood and Tissue Kit, and Mobio PowerSoil DNA Isolation Kit. We show that not all extraction methods led to successful detection of Bd for the low zoospore quantities and that there was variation in the estimated zoospore equivalents among the methods, which demonstrates that these methods have different extraction efficiencies. These results highlight the importance of considering the extraction method when comparing across studies. The Qiagen DNeasy kit had the highest efficiency. We also show that replicated estimates of less than 1 zoospore can result from known zoospore concentrations; therefore, such results should be considered when obtained from field data. Additionally, we discuss the implications of our findings for interpreting previous studies and for conducting future Bd surveys. It is imperative to use the most efficient DNA extraction method in tandem with the highly sensitive qPCR technique in order to accurately diagnose the presence of Bd as well as other pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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